12 Oct 2011

Economic hardship driving Solomons' increase in sexual violence

12:41 pm on 12 October 2011

A rise in sexual violence against women and girls in Solomon Islands is being linked with increasing economic hardship.

A recent report by Amnesty International on the high number of sexual assaults in Honiara's squatter settlements cites the distance women have to travel to fetch water and reach toilets as one of the main causes.

But the Ministry of Women, Youth and Family Affairs' permanent secretary, Ethel Sigimanu, says economic pressures are driving the increase in sexual crimes against women and girls across the country.

"Where you have a society that women play a subordinate role to men, when you have those kind of hardships, poverty, economic hardships, pressures on women to put food on the table, to ensure that the house is properly cared for, that the children are fed, when those pressures come in it only reinforces the insubordination of women."

Ethel Sigimanu says small but significant steps are being taken to review the legislation protecting women from sexual violence.